U.S. Men Succumb to Serbia at World League

July 22, 2009, 4:14 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 22, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team could not overcome hard-hitting Serbia on Wednesday and fell 0-3 (20-25, 23-25, 22-25) in their first 2009 FIVB World League final round match in Belgrade, Serbia.

David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) led the U.S. Men with 14 points on eight kills and six blocks. Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i) added 12 points on 11 attacks and the only ace of the match for either team.

Serbia’s Ivan Miljkovic led all scorers with 17 points on 17 kills. Milos Nikic added 12 points nine kills and three blocks.

“We started stiffly and did not play well,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “However we missed a lot of serves and were unable to use opportunities as the Serbian team punished each wrong move we made.”

The U.S. Men will play Russia on Thursday (11:30 a.m. PT) in their second match of the final round. Team USA must win that match if it hopes to advance to the semifinals.

The U.S. Men were 65.63 percent excellent on serve receive, led by Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) with 14 excellents and no faults on 18 attempts and Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) with 12 excellents and no faults on 20 attempts.

Team USA also out-blocked Serbia 11-7, led by Lee.

But the U.S. Men were hurt by14 service errors and only converted 40 percent of their attack attempts into kills while Serbia converted 51 percent. The United States was credited with 10 digs and 11 faults on 41 attempts.

Among other U.S. scorers, Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) totaled six points on five kills and one block. Andrew Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) scored five points on five kills. David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) scored four points on three kills and one block. Lotman scored two points on one kill and one block. Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) scored one point on a block. Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) scored one point on a kill.

Knipe started Rooney and Touzinsky at outside hitter, Lee and Hein at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Suxho at setter and Lambourne at libero.

Lotman started the second and third sets for Touzinsky. Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) replaced Suxho in the third set. Smith replaced Hein in the third set. Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) also played as substitutes.

The U.S. Men fell behind from the start 2-5, and Knipe called a timeout. Team USA pulled to within one (7-8) at the first technical timeout (TTO), but Serbia scored four straight points, including two kills by Nikic to keep the advantage. Serbia led at the second TTO, 16-11. Lee came out of the timeout and scored on a kill. Serbia followed with three more straight points, including two kills by Miljkovic, to lead 19-12. With the U.S. trailing 15-22, Team USA rallied for three points, including an ace by Stanley, but Serbian Head Coach Igor Kolakovic called timeout and iced Stanley, who lost the serve on an error. Kills by Bojan Janic and Dragan Stankovic sealed the set victory for Serbia.

Serbia held an 8-7 lead at the first TTO of the second set, with five points on Miljkovic kills. Maric Grbic scored for a 10-8 lead, followed by a U.S. error that caused Knipe to call timeout. The U.S. Men tied the score at 15-15 on kills from Rooney, Lotman, Hein and Stanley and a block by Lee put the U.S. Men up 16-15. Later, with the scored tied 19-19, two Serbian errors put the United States ahead by two. Kolakovic called timeout. With the U.S. leading 22-20, Serbia scored four straight points to reach set point. Team USA scored once more on a Hein kill before Serbia ended the set, winning 25-23.

Serbia took an 8-4 lead at the first TTO of the third set as the U.S. scored three points on Serbian errors and one from a Stanley kill. Trying to spark the offense, Knipe substituted Hansen for Suxho. However, Serbia continued playing well and led 16-13 at the second TTO. A U.S. run, including two blocks by Smith and one from Lotman, tied the score at 16-16. Kolakovic replaced Janic with Nikola Kovacevic. The Serbian team regained confidence and took a 22-18 lead. A kill by Lee stopped the run, but the U.S. Men could not come back.

To visit the FIVB World League web site, click here.

For the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide, click here.

2009 U.S. World League Roster for the Final Round

2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
10 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
12 C Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
13 Clay Stanley (Opp, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Hawai’i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe
Team Manager: Edward Rapp
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato
Trainer/Therapist: John Hawks
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

2009 FIVB World League Final Round Schedule

Pool E
July 22: Serbia def. USA, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-22)
July 23: USA vs. Russia, 11:30 a.m. PT
July 24: Russia vs. Serbia, 11:30 a.m. PT

Pool F
July 22: Cuba def. Argentina, 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 26-24, 26-24)
July 23: Cuba vs. Brazil, 8:30 a.m. PT
July 24: Brazil vs. Argentina, 8:30 a.m. PT

July 25: Semifinals
  Pool F Winner vs. Pool E Second Place, 8:30 a.m. PT*
  Pool E Winner vs. Pool F Second Place, 11:30 a.m. PT*
  *as host country, Serbia will always play the late match so this schedule may be reversed.

July 26: Medal Matches
  Bronze Medal, 8 a.m. PT
  Gold Medal, 11 a.m. PT